Growing Turnips at the Allotment

Growing Turnips at the Allotment

Turnips are like a root vegetable but are in fact, a brassica and they come in a wide range of varieties. They can also be different shapes, colours and sizes. They can be eaten as raw and the leaves are edible too.

For a regular harvest, you can sow seeds little and often from March onwards throughout the summer until August, as their germination and growth time is quite quick - they can be ready in approximately six weeks! 

Earlier varieties tend to be tastier and tender, with main crop turnips that can be lifted as late as November - December can be blander, although bigger with larger roots and need more attention.

Turnip seeds can be sown directly in their growing position, thinly, approximately an inch deep and 6 inches apart. Thin out if necessary to give the bulbs chance to grow into their space. If you prefer the flavour of a smaller turnip, you can lift them from when they are about golf ball size.

Alike other brassicas, you need to be mindful about common pests and diseases to look out for, such as club root and cabbage root fly. Fleece protection may be needed in the colder months, depending on your location. Keep the turnips well-weeded and watered to help prevent the skins from splitting and a woody texture.

Turnips can be stored in a cool place with a covering of sand or similar for several weeks or alternatively, it can be blanched and frozen.



sugar beet 4138196_1920
kohlrabi 59730_1920

Growing Turnips in Summary

Sowing Turnips

  • Sow thinly every few weeks throughout spring and summer
  • Thin out quickly if needed due to their fast growth
  • Sow in non-acidic soil (or add lime)

Growing Turnips

  • Keep weed-free and watered regularly
  • Protect against pests and diseases
  • Protect in colder weather

Harvesting Turnips

  • Early varieties can be harvested in 6 weeks minimum and throughout the warmer months
  • Can be blanched and frozen
  • Can be eaten raw